PhD encapsulates probing or fact-finding towards developing a new theory or paradigm concerning one’s field of study

In the gambit of academia, pursuing higher education, predominantly a Doctor of Philosophy, fondly abbreviated as PhD, is something most students feel apprehensive about. The very genesis of myriad questions hovering in their minds — whether or not to pursue a PhD? If at all a resolution to pursue it is reached, would it be viable to manoeuvre this voyage cogently? How to scout for and be eclectic about topics that could shape up research in objective terms? Would every passing moment of this journey prove a chance to change in conjunction with developing transferrable skills and understanding the art of writing a research paper? etc. — eventually detracts from their final verdict. A salvo of such questions is what places candidates in a confounded state. At this juncture, the magnifying capacity to express their thoughts articulately is seemingly slammed shut.

The transpiration of this kind of a cul-de-sac is often experienced by many students who are ambivalent in their thoughts. To overcome these shackles, I place on record my experiences and purport of the cardinal parameters indispensible for attaining a rewarding PhD, specifically to those intimidated by the very pursuit of a PhD.

Typically speaking, a PhD encapsulates probing or fact-finding towards developing a new theory or paradigm concerning one’s field of study. This research escapade essentially entails teaching, closely symbolizing classroom tutelage or mentoring and scholarly activities embracing au courant knowledge, a modicum of common sense, cross-examination, promulgation of results, synthesising and analysing data, academic write-ups, peer review of journal submissions and presentations.

A PhD by its very character forms an effectively well-defined venture with greater reliance on insight, lateral thinking, inspiration and sagacity. The moment one turns lackadaisical or insipid about one’s own approach, and deals with an enervated inspiration, these at once form convincingly powerful reasons impeding progress and dispiriting faith. A focussed understanding, sanctity of thoughts, liveliness and rational ratification are likely to eschew entanglements making headway tenable.

Treading on my personal experiences, I have lined up thirteen seminal agents that would congenitally capacitate a researcher towards a successful doctoral jaunt. Thus, a doctoral P.E.R.E.G.R.I.N.A.T.I.O.N proximally demonstrates a journey circumscribing an array of virtues or attributes one must principally possess while delving deep into its routes, these being ‘P’ for Passion, ‘E’ for Endurance, ‘R’ for Resolute, ‘E’ for Eloquence, ‘G’ for Governance, ‘R’ for Rationality, ‘I’ for Inclination, ‘N’ for Novelty, ‘A’ exhibiting Alacrity, ‘T’ for Tenacity, ‘I’ for Imagination, ‘O’ for Orderliness and ‘N’ connoting Nimbleness.

Besides the aforesaid virtues instigating and dilating real passion and belief in work, it’s crucial to narrow down on that perfect someone who encourages when experiments fall flat, challenges on turning cocky and steers successfully towards submitting a first-class dissertation.

A Docent, Confidante, Advisor, Friend and Mentor all ingrained in one are indeed constitutive and form a quintessential epitome of a perfect paradisiacal supervisor.

The prospective guide one believes in must be one who has proliferated interesting research work, carries a relaxed attitude and is accessible at all times, or else the whole process of seeking a PhD supervisor can be a recipe for months of procrastination. Today, there exists an indefatigable encouragement to cross boundaries between disciplines, in which case one must be familiar with scientists from other subjects, paving the way for newfangled research domains. This kind of motivation so germinated must make the work intrinsically rewarding or else spending years proving a point wouldn't seem a healthy option.

A PhD in hand, thus, necessarily exemplifies the ability towards carrying out high quality research with associated adroitness. Moreover, a thesis transpiring in the process merely forms tangible evidence manifesting completion of part of the journey and is consummated post viva, often, without inputs from the advisor.

To conclude, one must learn to plan an appropriate level of detail, adapt to plans as things progress, bear in mind the meta-information related to the plan, reasons for following it, the possible outcomes, risks, alternatives and phases needing influential decisions.

(The writer is a PhD in Business Economics. Email:

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